To maximize your impact, it’s important to pay attention to both your intentions and actions.
There are moments when you want to act but with no intentions. And there are also moments when you want to do something (your intention) but the action that follows has nothing in common with what you wanted in the first place.
Before diving into how to maximize your impact, let me share a story with you.
Around 3-4 weeks ago, a friend told me that he wanted to travel to a different city, to grab a cup of coffee with someone he met a while back.
After discussing a bit about why he wanted to meet with that person, my friend told me that he met this person at some dancing festival (my friend is a dance instructor) and that this person is an entrepreneur as well. The entrepreneur invited my friend to go to festivals together, but for various reasons, my friend refused.
Eventually, my friend decided to travel to a different city (a 3-hour car drive) and meet with the entrepreneur to drink a cup of coffee.
When I asked my friend why is he actually going there, he said that he was going for a cup of coffee.
“Seriously? You’re going to meet with an entrepreneur, passionate about dancing, a field where you want to have a business, and you’re going just for a cup of coffee?”, I said.
My friend suddenly stops and thinks.
“If you go there, go with something specific in mind”, I kept telling him.
I don’t know if my friend found a deeper intention in his action of meeting the entrepreneur, but later on I found out that he didn’t even go to the other city.
His reason was that he was renovating his apartment and couldn’t bare the idea of leaving the place unfinished.
I’m trying not to judge my friend, but I’m guessing that’s what happens when you don’t have a strong intention connected to your actions.
And if you want to maximize your impact, your intentions have to match your actions and vice-versa.
How to have strong intentions that can match and fuel your actions
To have strong intentions, you need to have strong motivation and focus. You need to have clarity over the things that you are looking for.
And while there are benefits to not knowing what you want, you can always go back to the specific situation that you’re advancing toward, in the near future, and think of what you want out of it. Think about the smallest thing that you want out of that situation and find your why.
Let’s say you want to travel the world and see 10 cities this year in Europe. (that’s actually my goal)
You can connect that to your intention of meeting people and ask them about their traveling experiences. When you meet with someone, ask them about the last city they visited and try to understand what they learned from that experience.
While your goal is something big, your intention can be connected to something as small and simple as grabbing a cup of coffee.
For a second, remember the example of my friend, the dance instructor. He didn’t have any intentions for that cup of coffee, at least nothing more than just drinking the cup of coffee.
Don’t be like my friend.
Think of your social life and the things that you do on a weekly basis and make sure you have small and simple intentions when it comes to your daily and weekly interactions.
Over time, you’ll build yourself the habit of connecting your long-term goals with your short-term actions. It will feel like you’re making a small step every day toward the big thing that you want.
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What happens when the intention is there but the action doesn’t match it
I’m not proud of how things are going on in my life right now, but it is what it is.
I’ve been trying for a while to lose weight (my intention) but for some reason, I keep eating chaotically, with lots of sweets, soda, and junk food.
Yeah, if I want to lose weight, I should stop eating all these foods. But for some reason, it doesn’t seem to work.
And lately, things have become more and more frustrating because even though I really wanted to lose weight, I actually gained more than I wanted.
What happens is that I’m focusing too much on my intention.
This can be a good thing if your unconscious actions match your intention. But, in my case, my unconscious actions are making me eat more and more.
Therefore, this is where I struggle.
I need to maintain a strong intention and identify the unconscious behaviors that are driving my actions. For sure, these behaviors are not helping at all with my intention of losing weight.
This is what I’m currently trying to solve through therapy and I’m sure it’s going to eventually work out.
What happens when the action matches the intention?
In short, you’re going to maximize your impact. But how?
For a second, let’s go back to the idea of having small and simple intentions on a weekly basis.
If you want to travel and you talk with everyone you meet about traveling, you’ll build the habit of talking about something that’s important to you.
Because of that, you’ll start feeling like you’re doing something constantly towards your goal and it will generate dopamine, which will keep you even more focused on your goal.
The better you can focus on your goal, the higher the chances to have better results and maximize your impact.
Align your intentions with actions to maximize your impact and results
There’s a simple quote by George S. Patton Jr. that describes really well what intention is: Say what you mean and mean what you say.
To connect it to action, I’ll also add that it’s important to say what you do and do what you say.
Words, meaning, and action are part of the formula for maximizing your impact and meaning is what puts everything together.
Find the meaning behind your actions and your intention will be there.
With love and optimism,
What did you learn?
What are some valuable things you learned about maximizing your impact?
I would love to know what you think, so share your insights with me using the form below.